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July 10, 2011: Raptor Cam Update

by Bob Sallinger


Posted on July 10, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 6:40 PM

My kids and I biked down to the Raptor Cam site on Sunday afternoon to see if we could spot any of the hawks. It has been several weeks since the young first fledged so sightings are going to be more sporadic. The young will roam further and further from the nest site as the summer progresses and eventually they will move on altogether. By now they should be doing a good deal of hunting on their own and so interactions between the parents and the young will also be more infrequent.

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Soon after we arrived we had a nice sighting of one of the adults soaring near Big Pink (US BankCorp Tower).  She circled a few times and then drifted south over the city and out of sight. For the next hour we had no sightings at all---just a warm, quiet sunny summer afternoon in the middle of downtown Portland. We scanned the trees along that lines the sidewalks but didn't find anything. The kids grew bored and we started to walk to Saturday Market for a snack when we heard one of the young calling from several blocks away.

We found him perched on top of a building about a block from the nest site. She sat there for  a good ten minutes before flying out of sight. I could see her legs and it was not the bird we treated and banded, but rather the other remaining juvenile from the nest. This is the first time in a couple of weeks I have actually seen her---I have heard here calling from rooftops but she has remained out of sight while her banded sibling has been much more visible.

We caught sight if her again about ten minutes later. A diving crow alerted us to her presence on the giant communications/ satellite dish array that sits atop a building several blocks west of the nest site. Crows will harass hawks to drive them out of the area, especially if they have a nest nearby. The crow was repeatedly rising and diving and sure enough we were able to spot the young red-tail hunkered down next to one the support columns. She eventually took to the air with the crow in pursuit. The crow gave up the chase after a few blocks and returned to the satellite dish array. The red-tail did a couple of circles around Big Pink and disappeared to the east.

The crows will annoy the red-tails by they will not harm them. They are more maneurverable than red-tails so as long as they know where the hawk is, they have the upper hand and can avoid being caught and becoming supper. However, turnabout is fairgame and when the hawks have the element of surprise they will be more than willing to come back and eat the crow and its young.

we also had a nice look at an osprey flying near Big Pink just before we departed. All in all, a pretty cool afternoon.


Juvenile Red-tail perched on building and then flying out of view


This next sequence is of the crow diving on the red-tail. It is easiest to see the red-tail directly under the crow in the 6th picture in the series

Red-tail flying off with crow in pursuit. The crow is above the red-tail